UAF Volleyball sets a 10-game spring schedule, will host UAA March 5
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - November 23, 2019 was the last time the University of Alaska Fairbanks competed in a volleyball match. Of course, a lot has happened since then that does not require much explanation. The Great Northwest Athletic Conference scrapped the fall volleyball season in July and later announced it will not formulate a spring schedule, but allowed individual programs to create their own nonconference calendar if they chose to do so.
Throughout the uncertainty of winter, the UAF volleyball program did not lose hope, sticking together through the cold, dark nights while crossing their fingers for some form of season.
On Monday, the wait became worth it, as the University announced a 10-game, spring of 2021 schedule for the Alaska Nanooks volleyball program.
“It has been a long, hard year and I think we all get pretty wearied of the stress of being cooped up in dorm rooms, to pressures of school and COIVD and now they just get to have a little bit of relief, something to look forward to and they’re really excited about this opportunity.” UAF head coach Brian Scott said.
After 469 days without competition, the Nanooks will return to action on March 5, hosting nonother than their in-state rivals, the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves before taking on UAA again the following day. At this time, fans will not be allowed to attend games at the UAF Patty Center until further notice, according to the University’s press release.
After their two-day series with the Seawolves, UAF will travel to Southern California to face Biola University March 8 and Concordia University (CA) on March 9. Upon return, the Nanooks will have the weekend off before hosting fellow GNAC member Northwest Nazerene University (NNU) March 19-20. UAF will then visit the UAA campus for two more games, before concluding their season on the road at NNU April 2-3.
Scott says that every member of the UAF volleyball program returned to campus for the spring semester. From Ainsley Smith, just down the road in North Pole, to Miya Ohms, who comes way of Taichung, Taiwan, all players will be competing this season. The team has been practicing regularly throughout the year and it has amped up with the recent news of a schedule.
“Practices have been great, competition is really, really tough in the gym.”
As the team has been able to mesh together on the court, the extended offseason has given the players a chance to increase team chemistry off the court as well.
“We are trying to keep our interactions very small, so that does mean we get to be around each other a lot and I think that has been very good for the team. They have gotten to know each other really fast, they study together all of the time, they get together and watch the Bachelorette every week together as a team,” Scott said with a laugh. “It has been very good in that sense and we have great senior leadership that are taking new people under their wing and welcoming them and I think it has been very good in terms of that dynamic.”
Throughout the 2020-21 academic year, some UAF athletic programs have seen competition, while others have not. The hockey and men’s and women’s basketball seasons were called off all together, while the Nordic ski and rifle programs are currently competing. Throughout each decision made, the UAF Administration has made a point to explore opportunities of competition if it can be done safely.
“We are so grateful to the University, [Chancellor] Dan White, [Vice Chancellor] Keith Champagne, T.O. [Terylnn Olds] and interim AD Peggy Keiper, everybody has worked really hard to pull this off. They haven’t given up...we could have thrown in the towel a long time ago, but we just kept saying ‘let’s plan as though it is going to happen and if we have to cancel, we will cancel, but let’s be prepared to play,’ and I really appreciate that attitude and help and support they have given us.”
2021 UAF Volleyball Schedule
|March 5||University of Alaska Anchorage||Fairbanks, AK - Patty Center|
|March 6||University of Alaska Anchorage||Fairbanks, AK - Patty Center|
|March 8||Biola University (CA)||La Mirada, CA - Chase Gymnasium|
|March 9||Concordia University (CA)||Irvine, CA - CU Arena|
|March 19||Northwest Nazarene University||Fairbanks, AK - Patty Center|
|March 20||Northwest Nazarene University||Fairbanks, AK - Patty Center|
|March 26||University of Alaska Anchorage||Anchorage, AK - Alaska Airlines Arena|
|March 27||University of Alaska Anchorage||Anchorage, AK - Alaska Airlines Arena|
|April 2||Northwest Nazarene University||Nampa, Idaho - Johnson Sports Center|
|April 3||Northwest Nazarene University||Nampa, Idaho - Johnson Sports Center|
Copyright 2021 KTVF. All rights reserved.